TOKYO (Reuters) – Panasonic, a supplier notably to the American giant Tesla, announced on Monday that it had reduced the production of automobile batteries in Japan in the three months to September, and lowered annual profit forecasts for this division by 15%, citing a global slowdown in electric vehicle sales.

The Japanese group’s outlook follows similar warnings from several automakers and suppliers as the world’s major economies, including China and Europe, experience an economic slowdown.

Panasonic lowered its full-year 2023 operating profit forecast for the unit that makes batteries for Tesla and other automakers to 115 billion yen ($769 million), from 135 billion yen previously.

The company further adjusted production of automotive batteries in Japan in the three months to the end of September to achieve an “appropriate inventory level, in response to the rapid reduction in demand”, it said. she declared.

Production of the battery unit in Japan has suffered from slowing adoption of high-end electric vehicles in North America, Panasonic said, as the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act – IRA) has stimulated changes in consumer demand.

Panasonic said that production at its North American sites remained stable and that sales of vehicles eligible for tax credits had been sustained.

South Korean battery maker LG Energy Solution last week announced a slowdown in revenue growth in 2024 due to global economic uncertainties affecting the outlook for electric vehicle sales.

This month, Tesla took a cautious stance on expanding its electric vehicle production capacity, fearing that rising borrowing costs could deter consumers from buying its vehicles despite price cuts.

General Motors, for its part, has slowed the launch of several electric vehicle models in order to reduce costs and abandoned a project to jointly develop affordable electric vehicles (EVs) with Honda.

(Reporting by Daniel Leussink; written by Kim Coghill and Miral Fahmy, Diana Mandia for the , edited by Blandine Hénault)

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